The Intoxicating Lake Chelan Wine Country A young AVA in Washington takes advantage of a unique climate and soil. BY TOURING & TASTING
Jacquelynn Brynn Photography
Visitors enjoy the beautiful scenery and some delicious wine.
“ It’s the kind of soil vines love to struggle in under the blanket of hot summer days and cool summer nights.”
Welcome to the Lake Chelan Wine Valley, one of the most naturally intoxicating wine destination in the Pacific Northwest. The vintages are deep and complex, like the cobalt depths outside their wineries’ Washington steps. The glacially carved soil gives Lake Chelan grapes unique character. The Lake’s depths literally change the seasons here, stretching them out, drawing out late-summer sugars, long after others are off the vine. Some say Lake Chelan's most precious resources are the world-class winemakers drawn to these conditions, turning nature’s gifts into the magic in your glass. Engaging and accessible, chances are you’ll talk to more than one on your next wine adventure here.
The Lake Chelan Valley may be a young wine destination, but don’t be fooled. Designated as an official American Viticulture Area (AVA) in 2009, Lake Chelan offers a one-of-a-kind wine tasting experience featuring over 20 wineries hugging the shores of a breathtaking lake—each winery offering quality wines reflective of the distinctive personality of their grapes and their winemaker.
In geological terms, the soil here is relatively young with volcanic pumice on top of a glacially-aged scape. It’s the kind of soil vines love to struggle in under the blanket of hot summer days and cool summer nights. You can taste the efficiency of a Lake Chelan winter, the quick thaw of spring, the intense summers and a gorgeous harvest in any glass of Lake Chelan AVA wine.
Winemaking is a lot easier with amazing grapes to work with and wine drinking is a lot more memorable when everything around you is beautiful. Even so, they've taken the time to tend to their vines and the reward has been award winning. That’s why wine lovers have made the easy jaunt over the hills to return to Lake Chelan Valley summer, winter, spring and harvest.
On your next visit, pause a moment to look around at Lake Chelan’s beauty and drink it all in. Don’t just discover wine history in the making. Write your own chapter. They'll have a glass waiting for you.
Featured Wineries C.R. Sandidge Wines
Ray Sandidge has devoted 30 years to making beautiful, superbly balanced red and white wines. Aside from short stints on Long Island, New York, and in the Rheingau region of Germany, Ray has spent 23 years making wines in Washington State.
Nestled on the gently sloping south shore of Lake Chelan with breathtaking views of the lake and mountains, Tsillan Cellars is an enchanting slice of Italy.